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Valley home cook competes on MasterChef Quebec

Sherrington resident Vincent Notaro was recently seen on the first season of TV’s MasterChef Quebec, a cooking competition that features only home cooks. He had an eventful season, filled with ups and downs, and his skills were truly put to the test.

When Notaro signed up, he didn’t think that he would ever be considered. The audition process started with submitting a form with his potential options for signature recipes. He was then asked to come in for a callback, and was required to prepare a signature dish to be paired against people with similar creations. The evaluations were based on presentation and taste, and the winner got to move on to the show. Notaro’s dish was cod with potatoes and sauteed vegetables.

What’s particularly exciting about MasterChef is that the competition is specifically for home cooks; you can’t be working in the restaurant industry to be eligible for the show. Notaro is 34 years old and has been cooking since the age of 15; however, he’s never had any interest in pursuing it in a more professional way. “When you work in your own career field you get stressed-out and tired, and cooking is like natural medicine. You feel good, you’re relaxed, it helps you think,” he says, adding that the thought of being a career chef is too stressful, and that he believes there is too much pressure.

Unfortunately, after the first “Mystery Box Challenge” (a challenge with limited ingredients and time), Notaro was eliminated. He thought his journey was over, but the judges later asked him to come back and compete some more. “When you’re eliminated, you’re disappointed, but you tell yourself, ‘At least we did it and that’s what counts.’ I left, and I was okay with it. But when you come back, it’s so much adrenaline… It’s a lot of pressure.”

 

Vincent Notaro of Sherrington took part in the first season of MasterChef Quebec PHOTO provided

 

After coming back, he did very well for himself, receiving great praise for some of his dishes from the show’s judges, Martin Picard and Stefano Faita, and he even placed in the top three for another Mystery Box Challenge.

In his day-to-day life, Notaro is a farmer. He says he felt that some people underestimated his abilities, and so he was proud to be recognized for his skills. Overall, Notaro placed sixth out of the 16 who were selected to compete.

Now that the show is airing, Notaro is thrilled to be able to watch it at home. He never expected to be on TV, so this was a brand-new experience. “There was the stress of the camera, and so many people. You can still have fun, but you have to take it seriously because it’s MasterChef!” he shares.

He’s back to cooking for himself and his family, though he admits he sometimes sets a time limit for himself just to see what he can still do. He says he’s “excited to watch next season, because I’ll watch it and see the people who are now in our place… I don’t doubt that they picked great people.”

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